If you follow my blog, you can't have failed to notice that all last week, I was in Gdynia in Poland on a work trip.
We were staying in a little family-run guest house, perfectly situated because it was close to the marina and the town centre.
The rooms were quite small and very rudimentary but we didn't spend that long in them. The pillows were covered in dubious-looking stains but the sheets and pillow cases were clean luckily ! The owner always provided a lovely breakfast for us with cured meats, cottage cheese, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber and radishes (which seemed a bit strange !), gorgeous breads and something cooked - usually either scrambled eggs or fried eggs.
Our rooms overlooked a military museum so it was quite surreal to look out of the window and see a submarine!
My favourite part of Gdynia is the beautiful sandy beach that trails off into dense woodland. It's actually an artificial beach, created by bringing in lorryloads of sand.
It always surprises me to see swans and ducks swimming in the sea and wandering along the beach at Gdynia but it's apparently because the Baltic is not very salty.
There's a wooden boardwalk that leads round to the marina.
It always made me smile to see the kids going out in their miniature sailing boats.
I was surprised to see that they do proper sailing, going quite a long way out. Not sure I'd have felt very safe if it had been the Madhouse kids out there !
Going deeper into the port, there is a beautiful mock pirate ship that has been turned into a bar/restaurant.
It's really ornate and looks spectacular - this is some of the Polish team waiting for us to walk across the gangplank !
Inside it looks equally authentic. They serve traditional Polish food - this is where we ate the Zurek and Kielbasa that I told you about last week.
It wasn't all R&R though ! We had an official reception in the mayor's office.
We even had our names typed out on the official minutes of the meeting. At one point, I thought I was going to have to appear on Polish television, translating from French to English, but at the last minute, a Polish-French translator arrived - phew !
The purpose our visit was a European project about "integration by sport" (people with disabilities, OAPs, girls/women, the less well-off people in the two towns ...) so we visited lots of the sports facilities in Gdynia.
We had a great time and learnt lots about the way things are done in Gdynia - several of the events and facilities will now be trialled back in Dunkirk. The only slightly negative point was that when we arrived back in Paris, our luggage had been left on the tarmac after our connecting flight to Warsaw ! Luckily there was another plane two hours later so we all went for a final meal together then went back to pick them up before heading home.